SA's Gillis bleeds on diving board at Commonwealth Games

11 April 2018 - 09:00 By David Isaacson
South Africa's Micaela Bouter and South Africa's Nicole Gillis compete during the diving women's synchronised 3m springboard final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Optus Aquatic Centre in the Gold Coast on April 11, 2018.
South Africa's Micaela Bouter and South Africa's Nicole Gillis compete during the diving women's synchronised 3m springboard final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Optus Aquatic Centre in the Gold Coast on April 11, 2018.
Image: François-Xavier MARIT / AFP

Nicole Gillis left a trail of blood on the diving board after accidentally slicing the big toe of her right foot minutes before competing at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.

Gillis and Micaela Bouter‚ both US-based students‚ had been called down off make-shift stairs leading up to the three-metre board for the synchronised diving competition in Gold Coast after a technical error in the scoring system had delayed proceedings.

“I was walking down the stairs and I slipped and somehow my foot got caught underneath a blue mat and there was a sharp thing‚” said Gillis‚ who got the toe plastered up by medics on the pool deck before they were summoned back.

“I guess my adrenaline helped because I didn’t feel it until my last dive. I’m hurting right now.”

On her first dive she walked to the end of the board to prepare. “I turned around and there were spots of blood all the way across the board and I was like‚ ‘poor divers’.”

Gillis headed to the hospital after the competition to get the wound properly checked out.

She and Bouter ended sixth out of seven‚ but they had the satisfaction of nailing the third-highest score in the final fifth effort‚ involving an inward two-and-a-half somersaults‚ a 56.70 that was topped only by the gold medallist Australians and English runners-up.

Gillis and Bouter‚ both 22‚ were competing for fun ahead of their more serious individual competition on Saturday‚ when they will be joined by teammate Julia Vincent‚ who participated at the Rio Olympics.

Based in different states — Bouter is in Texas and Gillis in Arkansas — they don’t get much chance to train together.

“We actually just trained when we got here‚” said Bouter. “We’ve competed together five times [including twice at the SA champs] but we only train together when we get to the events because we live so far away from each other.”

“We have a lot of potential‚ I feel‚” added Gillis‚ explaining they have to adjust their diving styles to try match each other.

“Our coaches tell us two different things‚” said Bouter‚ who initiates each routine by counting.

“My coach is going to tell me one thing and her coach is going to tell her one thing and so it makes the dive slightly different … She had to change her back press to match mine.”

But Gillis said this wasn’t a problem. “We work well together.”

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